Open Letter to SMH

Dear Nurses, Doctors and Med Staff at SMH, and anyone else who may care to read this letter;

In the month of September 2013 I have been forced to visit your hallowed establishment no less than five times.

Yesterday I went to your old ER three times starting at about nine am, only to leave and return twice more, my last visit being at midnight.

To understand why I am writing this, I must explain my medical situation.

Eight years ago I had a wisdom tooth that decided to go rogue and shoot up under my already well planted well sturdy and healthy teeth. In the last eight years I’ve been told it’s nothing more than a cyst on my cheek and given pills to deal with it. I have lived with this pain for eight years.

In the last six weeks I finally got sick and tired of the constant pain, of the fact that four teeth have shattered due to the mind numbing pain and grinding I have had to deal with. I now need to have major dental surgery on the left side of my mouth. Since I know it is useless to sue the numerous doctors and dentists who have essentially fucked me over I thought I would share my experience with you at the hands of your employees.

In the beginning of September though I do not remember which day exactly, I was brought in by my mother late at night, I was as far as I can remember screaming and hallucinating from the pain and also from a mix of Morphine and Naproxin. At the time having believed the previous doctors that it was nothing more than a cyst I had no clear way of what to do other than constantly being told to take t3.

I have a vague recollection of one of your nurses telling me to quiet down and calm down because I was disturbing the patients, I distinctly remember asking her politely to be quiet, her voice was too loud as she was yelling at me. Keep in mind I was in a drug and pain induced hallucination and was not fully aware of the world around me. When asking her nicely to be quiet did not work I remember telling her to shut the hell up.

I ended up walking out of the hospital and curling up by the garbage can continuing to scream in pain and covering my eyes and ears.

Finally after twenty minutes of being completely ignored, and a patient’s family member going in to demand they help me, was I taken into the back Minor Treatment area to be medicated. This calmed my pain at long last and made it possible for me to actually converse.

I was at this point incredibly humiliated and ashamed of my behavior even though it was out of my control.

The doctors ended up giving me a Morphine shot and some pills to take home. I have been very careful to take them only when needed and I have from the start of this been honest about the fact that I used to pop pills – Morphine eight years ago, to deal with this pain.

In the last few weeks I have been out of morphine and switched back to my daily regiment of Tylenol 3, iron supplements and Tylenol with codeine.

Three days ago I bought the bottle of Tylenol with Codine, it contained fifty pills in it. By the end of the night there were only thirty five left.

I decided yesterday morning to go back to the hospital and take the morphine shot. I believe it was between eight-thirty and nine am when I arrived first.

After nearly four hours of waiting, I was given a shot by a doctor who swore the freezing solution would last six to eight hours. When he asked if I wanted the morphine shot I declined, because hey he said the freezing shot would last. I did not want to overdose or take more medication than was absolutely necessary. It lasted fifteen minutes. By the time I got to the parking-lot entry way the freezing solution had worn off.

Deciding to trust the Doctor anyways, I went home and had something to eat, having taken the morphine pill as instructed. I returned one hour later.

At this point I was now desperate for help because I had no intention or desire to pop a bunch of morphine pills.

When I returned I heard the nurses and the Doctor talking about me as if I was not there – they said it seemed suspicious that I was back so soon, indicating that obviously I was only looking for drugs. Clearly they had forgotten that I had morphine pills at home still.

I explained this to the nurse who glared at me and treated me with utter disrespect purely because she could.

I chose then to leave, and return home, knowing I would be taking more than the indicated dose just to feel some relief.

Through all of this mind you, I have repeatedly explained I will have surgery on my mouth next Tuesday which will hopefully relieve me of some of the stress and pain that I have dealt with the last eight years.

Last night at exactly midnight I was admitted again. This time the nurses were even worse than on my last visits.

One Nurse Victoria was laughing and joking with her collegue one moment before she began to glare at me for interrupting to ask if she knew what time the doctor would be arriving. Her exact words were “I have no idea, go sit down”. I was shocked. Here I was a patient, dealing with something that had been done to me by negligent doctors, and I was being treated as if something she were scraping off the bottom of her shoe. How dare she? What had I ever done to her?

Thankfully from that moment on I decided to ignore her, play on my phone and pretend that I was not in pain whilst inside my head I was screaming, I have learned at this point, letting tears fall and asking to be in a quiet room with dark lights due to photo sensitivity would do me no good. They didn’t care.

No one cared.

Over the years I have heard stories of thousands of travesties, including but not limited to;

  • Mental Health patients remanded on 30 days walking out
  • Mental Health patients vanishing for days on end, only to be found hiding in the bushes, wearing nothing but the hospital gown.
  • I have personally spoken to over twenty patients who were homeless who were told to “stay somewhere warm and dry” before being released.
  • Homeless patients being told to leave simply because they “looked as if they were looking for drugs”

Now everyone in BC is very excited about the expansion of the new ER wing and I have to wonder why? Is the level of care the nurses give the patients suddenly going to change? Is the world around SMH suddenly going to be filled with kindness and compassion? From my experience the only time any nurse at SMH shows any compassion what so ever is when a doctor is around, and then it is so saccharine sweet it just makes my teeth hurt even more.

Dear business owners and doctors, teachers and students of SMH, the level of your quality of care is disgusting. The excuse that some patients get violent should not fly because that does not describe all patients. The fact that nurses are only there to do the minimal amount of work in order to collect their paychecks is ridiculous and beyond repair. There is nothing you can do now to change my mind unless it is to order some kind of sensitivity training for your nurses.

I wish you all the best with your expansion. Maybe things will change, but somehow I find, I seriously and sincerely doubt it.


One dissatisfied Patient.








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